Are You Really Ready for Your Kids to Go Back to School?


US Department of Education / Foter / CC BY

September is a time of transitions.  Fall begins, bringing cooler weather and cozy sweaters, with the promise of the holidays right around the corner.  But more crucial and coveted by all parents is the transition of the school year starting.  It gives parents a much needed reprieve from having to cook for, entertain, and chauffeur their children, at least for a few hours a day.  With restarting the routines, what better time to try introducing some healthy habits.  It goes without saying that healthy kids make for healthy students so why not start the new school year off right?  Here are four tips to help you set your kids up for a successful school year:

Be Honest With Yourself

Obviously, it is difficult to make changes if you’re not even aware that there is a problem in the first place.  A recent study found that while most parents are able to recognize that their child is overweight or obese, a large percentage of the same parents, still thought their children had “excellent” or “very good” health1.  Being overweight or obese puts children at risk for a large assortment of other diseases so ensuring they maintain a healthy weight is crucial.  While it may be painful to admit that your child needs help, perhaps even bringing up feelings of failure, change can’t happen until we accept the situation as is.

Lead By Example

Whether you want it to happen or not, children are like sponges and will exhibit your behaviors, both good and bad.  While it would be fantastic if we could pick and choose what behaviors our children acquire from us, the burden lies on parents to teach by doing.  By changing your own habits for healthier ones, you’ll be improving your own health while setting your kids up for success.

Make It Fun

Who said being healthy had to be boring? Planning fun activities or making meals engaging can make being healthy less of a battle for everyone. Check out these adorable ways to make food fun.  I’m almost tempted to make them for myself 😉  Nutrition is a big piece of the puzzle but don’t forget to get your kids moving.  Plan a family fun day in the park or even turn chores into a game.  Yes, chores count as moving 🙂  Anything that encourages kids to get away from the TV and be active.

Get Them Involved

Education is power and kids love nothing more than feeling empowered.  Plant a vegetable garden together that they can help you take care of and harvest.  Let them help you in the kitchen.  Obviously, we’re not going to give a 3-year-old a knife and tell them to get to chopping but they can help with measuring or arranging.  The more time your kids invest in their meals, the more they will learn to value healthy eating habits.

 

One-third of children are considered obese or overweight in America and for the first time, children are are predicted to have shorter life expectancies than their parents2.  I’m not sharing this to scare you and ruin your day but it is important to recognize the severity of the predicament that we are putting our kids in.  If our children are the future, don’t we owe it to them to help make that future as bright and healthy as possible?

Stay radiant,

Dr. Russell

 

 1. Romm, Cari. “Study: Many Parents Are In Denial About Their Kids’ Obesity.” July 2014. The Atlantic. <http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/study-many-parents-are-in-denial-about-their-kids-obesity/375023/>
2. Dollemore, Doug. “Obesity Threatens to Cut U.S. Life Expectancy, New Analysis Suggests.” March 16th, 2005. NIH News. <http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/mar2005/nia-16.htm>

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